Tree or Forest: The Effect of Mood on Rule Induction
MetadataShow full item record
During the process of language acquisition, children and adults have to induce the rules of the new language (native or second). The process of rule induction has been shown to be affected by differences in individuals’ cognitive capacities, such as memory (e.g, Hudson Kam & Newport, 2005). On the other hand, individual differences in mood can also affect attention and cognition; in relevant studies, a general effect that has been observed is that people in a negative mood tend to follow a more detailed, item-based and systematic way of processing, whereas people in a positive mood might follow a more creative, category-based way of processing, relying more on heuristics (e.g., Clore & Huntsinger, 2007). Since cognition has an effect on rule induction, and mood has an effect on cognition, could mood ultimately affect rule induction? This study focuses on the differences that adult participants in positive and negative mood conditions might exhibit with respect to rule induction. The main hypothesis is that individuals in a negative mood will have a lower capacity for rule induction, while individuals in a positive mood will have a higher such capacity. We further tested whether the effects of mood on cognition would be observed in a visual perceptual task, as a means of testing whether mood affects cognition overall, or particular cognitive capacities only. The results indicated that participants in a negative mood had a lower tendency to identify the general underlying rules of the artificial grammar and to accept novel grammatical strings as correct, compared to participants in a positive mood; no similar effects were found for the visual perceptual task. Implications for differences in the effects of mood on cognition, and applications in educational settings, are discussed.